Older Dog Health Issues
One year is seven for dogs. It's a sad truth but suddenly we notice our dog slowing down, maybe has arthritis, is in need of oral health care and any number of other things requiring our responsibility and help. As we become aware of changes in our dog's behavior we need to learn how best to prevent worsening of any unhealthy condition.
Health issues vary in different breeds. It's possible your dog will become aggressive even if it's uncharacteristic. More than likely the cause is painful arthritis, loss of vision or hearing, or possibly sore gums.
He may also develop tough skin on his elbows and tail because of what he's sleeping on. Now is a good time to provide softer bedding. This will be appreciated as he's prone to lying more often than usual. In winter a soft blanket or even a hot-water bottle will help him feel comfortable.
Cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, heart and lung problems, gastrointestinal problems are all possible as your dog gets older. As soon as you notice anything unusual take him to your veterinarian. Neglect or delay will cause more cost and pain.
He will be less energetic and you need to feed him less. Just like us, he'll put on weight lying around and this will just cause more problems. Rest assured he will love you just as much when you feed him a smaller amount, although he may look at you at meal times for a while as if to say 'is that all'? Alternatively, he may naturally lose his appetite and weight. Some of the shine on his coat will be lost and you'll see his hair turn white around the mouth.
Your dog may soil his bed or floor. Be kind and understanding. Take him for short, frequent walks. He may even become disorientated and need you to reassure him that he's loved and safe.
Pet stores these days offer a variety of vitamin, mineral and protein supplements, along with tasty, low-fat chews . Now that he's less active he will love to gnaw and scrape on a good nutritious chew. Your veterinarian will suggest appropriate treatment for whatever condition he's in and it's a good idea to have regular check-ups as it's less expensive in the long run.
A common disease in older dogs is arthritis. We can ease the pain by sprinkling liquid glucosamine onto his daily food. This is a natural supplement which helps repair the soft tissue surrounding the joint, and there are no harmful side effects. Used consistently this will be very beneficial within a few weeks.